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What is value-based marketing?

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John Lee Dumas

Consumers are increasingly becoming more aware of the issues surrounding their consumerism. Whether it be social or environmental, consumers are demanding better values from the companies they interact with.

What is a value based marketing strategy?

Value-based marketing strategy is an appeal to your customer’s values and ethics. Nowhere is this more prominent than in the eco-living and vegan sectors. The strong demand for more transparency from source to sale is driving a new form of marketing.

Modern customers want to deal with companies that reflect their own values and ethics. Value-based marketing is a strategy that appeases this demand but should also be backed up by products and services that also reflect those same values. 

To create your value-based marketing strategy, you need value based marketing techniques, including:

Customer Focus

Value based marketing strategies are centered around what the customers need and expect from your business. For example, major food companies have had to drastically change their marketing strategies as customer attitudes surrounding junk food for kids have switched in recent years.

Digital Marketing

It’s no longer acceptable to many customers that McDonald’s or Burger King openly and shamelessly target young children with their marketing efforts. This has led to radical changes within those companies marketing campaigns and will lead to a positive difference in your life too. 

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The rise in popularity of veganism has proven just how powerful customer demand can be. Now, every major food company on the planet is appeasing vegans with the type of products they sell and the marketing they put out.

Social Responsibility

We’ve had just over half a century of rapid consumerism. Companies have been so determined to create low-cost products for customers to buy, many values and ethics have gone out the window along the way. 

Now, we’re seeing the result of such large-scale consumerism in human and environmental rights violations. Our access to instant news, images, and videos via social media has allowed more people than ever to learn about the downsides to our obsessive spending habits.

As a result, customers want transparency and firm statements from companies on their commitments to doing better. Major companies have responded by:

  • Being more transparent about material sourcing and working conditions
  • Set up initiatives to support charitable organizations
  • Creating their own initiatives that seek to uplift communities and protect the planet
  • Gained multiple accreditations to certify their processes and products are responsibly made and sold
  • Eco-friendly measures taken including adopting renewable energy, carbon offsetting, and adopting eco-packaging

On top of all these new efforts to improve social responsibility, companies have had to rethink their marketing strategies. Here are some ideas for creating customer value marketing techniques:

  • All marketing shares a common standard of truth.
  • Marketing professionals follow the highest standard of personal ethics.
  • Advertising no longer blurs the lines of news and entertainment content.
  • Marketers should be transparent about who they pay to endorse their products.
  • Consumers should be treated fairly.
  • Misleading information is removed, and targeting of vulnerable groups should not be undertaken.
  • Consumer information is protected and never compromised.
  • Marketers must comply with government and industry body laws, regulations, and standards.
  • Ethics should be the primary focus of every new marketing campaign. 

Value-based business partnerships

In value-based marketing strategies, business partners should be vetted and selected carefully to ensure they reflect the same values and ethics of the intended consumers. 

Customers are becoming savvier and have access to large amounts of information. If a vegan brand we’re to team up with another food brand responsible for large-scale logging in the Amazon rainforest, this wouldn’t go down well with the customers. 

Selecting partnerships based on values and ethics helps promote more sustainable and responsible business practices. 

Online Marketing

What are the benefits of value-based marketing?

A value-based strategy has the potential to reap some incredible benefits for your company. 

Create Value for Your Customer

Business is all about your customers. As long as your customers are happy, usually, so is your business and finances. 

When you adopt a value-based marketing strategy, you start to create value for your customers that they can connect with. This builds a profound level of loyalty and authority for your business.

The aim here is to create stronger connections between you and your customers. They need to know that you’re both trying to create the same type of world. People care less about what you sell and more about your vision and values.

Elon Musk is a great example. His company Tesla doesn’t produce or sell the best cars on the market. But, Tesla does have the most enticing vision of a utopia where everyone has self-driving eco-friendly vehicles. 

That’s what Tesla customers and investors are buying into. It’s why Tesla’s shares are worth eleven times that of Toyota, even though Toyota produced 96.3m more vehicles last year.

Loyal Customers

Once you connect with customers on their values and ethics, you most likely have a customer for life. Modern consumers want to buy into businesses that make them feel respected and appreciated. 

When a company commits to a strong set of values and ethical practices, people respect it and support it. Especially if those values and ethics match with theirs.

Effective marketing understands the customer at a deep level. And once you know the customer, you add value by delivering more than they expect. 

Better Connection = More Leads

Let’s say you have 2,000 loyal customers who love everything you do, but everything you produce and hang on your every word. It won’t be long until each of those 2,000 people start talking about your business to their friends. 

They talk to their friends in person, but with today’s social media, they share their experience with your company with hundreds, thousands, and sometimes millions of followers too.

The more you connect with your customers, the more they want to share details about your company and your product. This leads to more leads and more customers, which starts a very positive sales funnel for you with minimal effort.

What are the 3 types of values?

Everyone has a different set of values, determined by a huge number of variables, including location, religion, sex, education, environment, income, etc. 

However, all values fit within three types of values.

Personal Values – these are values endorsed by the individual. For example, one person may believe family is the most important value, whereas the next person thinks financial success and career are more important.

Moral Values – these are values that determine what is right and what is wrong. Some moral values are accepted worldwide, such as not killing another human. Other moral values are subjective such as equality, which is determined by the type of society people grow up in.

Aesthetic Values – these are values associated with the evaluation of artwork or beauty. These values are especially important to determine when considering product design and looks.

Product-based marketing vs. value-based marketing

There are key differences between product-based marketing and value-based marketing. Product-based marketing focuses solely on the product to entice people to buy it.

Large companies selling general products that they assume a vast majority of society will need. Technology is a prime example of product-based marketing. Everyone wants a smartphone, TV, etc. So, the decision to purchase typically ends up being made based on how good the product is, and it’s features.

Value-based marketing is not so concerned with the product being sold. Instead, it’s about the brand and what they stand for. For example, eco-conscious female consumers are more likely to buy from an ethical and eco-friendly brand over a big brand like L’oreal. 

L’Oreal doesn’t appeal to eco-consumers because their product is not eco-friendly, and their business practices are often questionable.

How to shift from product-centric to customer-centric marketing

Shifting to customer-centric marketing does not mean giving up all your product-centric marketing strategies. You can find a balance between the two. After all, people still need to know that your product is excellent and worth buying. 

Use Customer-Analytics

We live in an incredible time in history where we have a direct access point to our customers, the internet. Back in the ’90s, companies could only dream of getting customer feedback as we can today.

Using the analytics we have on our customers, we can start to build a customer-centric or value-based marketing strategy. Analytics allows us to track and review customer behavior and activity with our business.

This information can then be used to identify critical points in a customer’s journey from awareness to deciding to buy. Analytics can work for a business of any size and is an invaluable source of insight. 

Using analytics, you can start to pinpoint the reasons your customers buy from you and the reasons why some don’t. For example, 20% of your website visitors last month didn’t complete their checkout. The customer analytics say this is because they couldn’t get next day delivery, so they went elsewhere. Now you have a customer-centric improvement to make that will help boost sales.

Get Feedback

Asking your customers for their feedback gives you invaluable information about your business. Customers don’t mind being honest about what you do right and especially what you do wrong. 

For example, you may receive 1000 feedback forms from customers. 45% of the respondents said you could do more to reduce the amount of plastic on product packaging. 

Instantly, you have a simple change that will help you improve relations with your customers and improve your brand image. Once customers see that you have made changes that they asked for, this further enhances your customer relationships and creates loyal customers.

You can also request feedback on your marketing materials. Ask them what they thought about the new marketing campaign. Did it resonate with them? Did it make them want to buy the product? What was good about it, and what was bad?

Customer Segmentation

Not all your customers are the same. They may share similar values, but they may not connect with marketing materials in the same way. To solve this issue, we can segment our customers into different categories.

This allows us to target groups with different marketing materials, offers, discounts, and even products. Segmentation can be done on social media ads and through email marketing. 

For example, you may have one segment of customers that responds well to discount offers via email and another segment that reacts well to free stuff. Therefore, we can target them separately.

Segmentation can go far and wide, including age, sex, location, job title, and much more.

Make Your Employees Customer-Centric

Speak to your team and ensure they understand the importance of the new direction of your marketing strategy. Involve them in the process, ask them for their ideas, and build the new strategy together.

Building a customer-centric culture in your workplace is necessary to ensure that the values transcend through the different departments. Incentivize your employees to ensure they’re giving the best survival to your customers and reflecting the core values of the business.

Deliver your promise

There is no point in building a value-based marketing plan and moving your employees to a customer-centric focus unless you actually deliver it. 

To ensure your company delivers on its values, it’s essential to track your progress, set milestones, and frequently review your strategy.

Start by setting goals and milestones for your value-based marketing plan. Ensure all members of your team understand the goals and what is required from them. 

Finally, celebrate when milestones are achieved and reward staff too. This will ensure you all keep progressing with the plan and showing value in marketing activity for customers.

Final Thoughts

A value-based marketing strategy will enable you to connect to your customers in a unique and powerful way. Done correctly, it will add marketing value for customers, help to improve your business, grow your customer base, build your reputability, and result in more sales. 

The end goal is to provide your customers with a product or service they can depend on from a company they love to follow and interact with. Give it a go and see what you can achieve with a value-based marketing strategy for your business. 

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